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Austin’s Newest Piece Of Public Art Is A 50-Foot-Tall Sculpture Made Out Of Old Boats

Something else for visitors to check out when they’re in town for SXSW.

Austin’s Newest Piece Of Public Art Is A 50-Foot-Tall Sculpture Made Out Of Old Boats
[Photo: Mark Menjivar]
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Austin is a city of many charms, but its public art has always been somewhat limited: There’s the famous “Hi How Are You” frog mural painted by Daniel Johnston on the side of what was once a record store (and is now a Thai restaurant that recently changed its name to “Thai How Are You,” because Austin), and there’ve been colorfully painted guitar sculptures strewn about the city. But when it comes to large-scale pieces of art in public, Texas’s creative jewel pales in comparison to a city like Chicago or Philadelphia.

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Visitors coming to town after March 5, however (say, perhaps the flood of international travelers arriving for SXSW), will have the chance to see something new and very big at the intersection of 24th Street and Speedway (within the University of Texas campus, and a few short blocks away from the Daniel Johnston mural): A 50-foot-tall sculpture by artist Nancy Rubins called “Monochrome For Austin,” commissioned by the university’s public art program Landmarks. The sculpture is built out of 70 aluminum canoes and small boats, supported with steel armature and intertwining cables, and should remind visitors that, given Austin’s famously snarled traffic, traveling by sea ain’t a bad idea.

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About the author

Dan Solomon lives in Austin with his wife and his dog. He's written about music for MTV and Spin, sports for Sports Illustrated, and pop culture for Vulture and the AV Club

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